Morana AlačMorana Alac

Associate Professor in Communication and Science Studies


Ph.D. in Semiotics, University of Bologna (2002)

Ph.D. in Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego (2006)


Morana Alač conducts ethnographic research of scientific laboratories
and other settings of technology production and use where she focuses on
multimodal and multisensory aspects of ordinary interactional practice.

Areas of interest: ethnomethodology, interaction with technology, gesture, multimodality, and the senses.


  • Morana Alač  (2017) “We Like to Talk About Smell: A Worldly Take on Language, Sensory Experience, and the Internet”, Semiotica, 215: 143-192.
  • Morana Alač  (2016) “Zeigt auf den Roboter und schüttelt dessen Hand: Intimität als situativ gebundene interaktionale Unterstützung von Humanoidtechnologien”, Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft 15, 41-71.
    English translation: “Points to and Shakes the Robot’s Hand: Intimacy as Situated Interactional Maintenance of Humanoid Technology
  • Philippe Sormani, Morana Alač, Alain Bovet & Christian Greiffenhagen (2016): “Ethnomethodology, Video Analysis and STS: Interaction, Respecification, and Practice”, In Felt, U., Miller, C., Smith-Doerr, L and R. Fouché (eds) Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 113-137.
  • Morana Alač (2016): “Social Robots: Things or Agents?” AI & Society, 31(4), 519-535.
  • Morana Alač, Javier Movellan, Mohsen Malmir (2014): “Grounding a sociable  robot’s movements in multimodal, situational engagements”, In Nakano, Y., Satoh, K. & D. Bekki (eds.), New Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence, New York: Springer, 267-81.
  • Morana Alač (2014) “Digital Scientific Visuals as Fields for Interaction,” In Coopmans, C. , Vertesi, V., Lynch, M. & S. Woolgar (eds.) Representations in Scientific Practice Revisited, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 61-87. 
  • Morana Alač, Javier Movellan, Fumihide Tanaka (2011) “When a Robot is Social: Enacting a Social Robot Through Spatial Arrangements and Multimodal Semiotic Engagement in Robotics Practice,” Social Studies of Science, 41(6), 126-159.
  • Morana Alač: Handling Digital Brains: A Laboratory Study of Multimodal Semiotic Interaction in the Age of ComputersMIT, 2011.
    • Winner of 2013 Book Award, Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Section of the American Sociological Association.
  • Morana Alač "Moving Android: On Social Robots and Body-in-Interaction", Social Studies of Science, 39:4, 2009, pp. 491-528.
  • Morana Alač: "Working with Brain Scans: Digital Images and Gestural Interaction in fMRI Laboratory", Social Studies of Science, 38, 2008, pp. 483-508.
  • Morana Alač: "From Trash to Treasure: Learning about the Brain Images through Multimodality", Semiotica, 156-1/4, 2005, pp. 177-202.
  • Morana Alač: "Widening the Wideware: An Analysis of Multimodal Interaction in Scientific Practice", Proceedings of the 27th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, B.G. Bara, L. Barsalou, and M. Bucciarelli (eds.), Erlbaum, 2005, 85-90.
  • Morana Alač: "Negotiating Pictures of Numbers", Journal of Social Epistemology, 18:2, 2004, pp. 199-214.
  • Morana Alač & Edwin Hutchins: "I See What You are Saying: Action as Cognition in fMRI Brain Mapping Practice", Journal of Cognition and Culture, 4:3, 2004, pp. 629-661.
  • Morana Alač & Patrizia Violi (eds.): In the Beginning: Origins of Semiosis, Brepols, 2004.
  • Morana Alač: "Squashing, Rotating, Seeing, and Going: On Visual Knowledge in fMRI Research", Proceedings of the 25th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Richard Alterman and David Kirsh (eds.), 2003, 73-78.
  • Morana Alač & Seana Coulson: "If You YOYO are You on Your Own?",Apparatur, 4, 2002, 42-49.
  • Morana Alač & Seana Coulson: "The Man, the Key, or the Car: Who or What is Parked out Back?", in A. Hougaard and S. Nordahl (eds.) The Way We Think, vol. II, Odense Working Papers in Language and Communication, 23: August, 2002, and Cognitive Science Online,2004,21-34.
  • Morana Alač: "Cultura ed Evoluzione", In: Anna Borghi and Tina Iachini (eds.), Scienze della mente, Il Mulino, 2001, 285-304.
  • Morana Alač: "Donald Davidson and the Limits of Interpretation",Versus, 80/81, May- December, 1998, 3-15.